Well, while everyone else has opined, I thought I’d throw in my two cents.
It’s sad to watch a former prima-donna try to be semi-relevant, again. For those who don’t know, some nearly former NFL QB refused to stand for the US national anthem. Poor Kolin seems confused at to what the flag represents.
But, that’s common among the young people today. They don’t seem to understand the distinction between rights, obligations, and things you should do.
You know, for years now, every election time which comes around, I encourage people not to vote if they are uniformed on the issues. Voting is a right, not an obligation. Nor, is it, something you should do if you are uninformed.
Mike Rowe, of “Dirtiest Jobs” fame seems to have articulated the idea I’ve been trying to convey. (My bold)
Jeremy Schneider writes…
Hey Mike, I have nothing but respect for you. Your no-nonsense outlook and incredible eloquence have really had a profound impact in my life. Can you please encourage your huge following to go out and vote this election? I would never impose on you by asking you to advocate one politician over another, but I do feel this election could really use your help. I know that there are many people out there who feel like there is nothing they can do. Please try to use your gifts to make them see that they can do something – that their vote counts.
Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it. I also share your concern for our country, and agree wholeheartedly that every vote counts. However, I’m afraid I can’t encourage millions of people whom I’ve never met to just run out and cast a ballot, simply because they have the right to vote. That would be like encouraging everyone to buy an AR-15, simply because they have the right to bear arms. I would need to know a few things about them before offering that kind of encouragement. For instance, do they know how to care for a weapon? Can they afford the cost of the weapon? Do they have a history of violence? Are they mentally stable? In short, are they responsible citizens?
Casting a ballot is not so different. It’s an important right that we all share, and one that impacts our society in dramatic fashion. But it’s one thing to respect and acknowledge our collective rights, and quite another thing to affirmatively encourage people I’ve never met to exercise them. And yet, my friends in Hollywood do that very thing, and they’re at it again.
Every four years, celebrities and movie stars look earnestly into the camera and tell the country to “get out and vote.” They tell us it’s our “most important civic duty,” and they speak as if the very act of casting a ballot is more important than the outcome of the election. This strikes me as somewhat hysterical. Does anyone actually believe that Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen DeGeneres, and Ed Norton would encourage the “masses” to vote, if they believed the “masses” would elect Donald Trump?
Regardless of their political agenda, my celebrity pals are fundamentally mistaken about our “civic duty” to vote. There is simply no such thing. Voting is a right, not a duty, and not a moral obligation. Like all rights, the right to vote comes with some responsibilities, but lets face it – the bar is not set very high. If you believe aliens from another planet walk among us, you are welcome at the polls. If you believe the world is flat, and the moon landing was completely staged, you are invited to cast a ballot. Astrologists, racists, ghost-hunters, sexists, and people who rely upon a Magic 8 Ball to determine their daily wardrobe are all allowed to participate. In fact, and to your point, they’re encouraged.
The undeniable reality is this: our right to vote does not require any understanding of current events, or any awareness of how our government works. So, when a celebrity reminds the country that “everybody’s vote counts,” they are absolutely correct. But when they tell us that “everybody in the country should get out there and vote,” regardless of what they think or believe, I gotta wonder what they’re smoking.
Look at our current candidates. No one appears to like either one of them. Their approval ratings are at record lows. It’s not about who you like more, it’s about who you hate less. Sure, we can blame the media, the system, and the candidates themselves, but let’s be honest – Donald and Hillary are there because we put them there. The electorate has tolerated the intolerable. We’ve treated this entire process like the final episode of American Idol. What did we expect?
So no, Jeremy – I can’t personally encourage everyone in the country to run out and vote. I wouldn’t do it, even if I thought it would benefit my personal choice. Because the truth is, the country doesn’t need voters who have to be cajoled, enticed, or persuaded to cast a ballot. We need voters who wish to participate in the process. So if you really want me to say something political, how about this – read more.
Spend a few hours every week studying American history, human nature, and economic theory. Start with “Economics in One Lesson.” Then try Keynes. Then Hayek. Then Marx. Then Hegel. Develop a worldview that you can articulate as well as defend. Test your theory with people who disagree with you. Debate. Argue. Adjust your philosophy as necessary. Then, when the next election comes around, cast a vote for the candidate whose worldview seems most in line with your own.
Or, don’t. None of the freedoms spelled out in our Constitution were put there so people could cast uninformed ballots out of some misplaced sense of civic duty brought on by a celebrity guilt-trip. The right to assemble, to protest, to speak freely – these rights were included to help assure that the best ideas and the best candidates would emerge from the most transparent process possible.
Remember – there’s nothing virtuous or patriotic about voting just for the sake of voting, and the next time someone tells you otherwise, do me a favor – ask them who they’re voting for. Then tell them you’re voting for their opponent. Then, see if they’ll give you a ride to the polls.
In the meantime, dig into “Economics in One Lesson,” by Henry Hazlitt. It sounds like a snooze but it really is a page turner, and you can download it for free.
Voting is a right in which you should exercise only after informing yourself. So, too, is it a right to sit while our national anthem is played, and the flag is raised. It’s your right. As an American, I can see no purpose in exercising such right.
The flag, the national anthem, are an expression of an idea, a notion that with sacrifice and diligence, a nation of free people can govern themselves.
In the particular case of Kapernick, or with any other whiner about police violence against Black people, when I read about how many more White people are killed by police, it’s hard for me to coalesce around your particular cause. But, it’s impossible for me to do so as I see these people disparage the idea of this nation.
I once read an idiotic passage in an article about the BLM lunatics, calling for policing to become more local. There isn’t a national police force, per se. The general policing of the people occurs at the local level! The people, dumbasses like Kapernick are crying about, are employed at the city or county level! Putting it another way …….. the actions of your local police force is a direct reflection of your voting and voting habits.
This weekend, in fact, I had an occasion to talk to an old school chum of mine. He informed me that he went to Ferguson when the riots were happening. He informed me about how racist the police force was there. I didn’t really have a chance to respond, in that my daughter was present ……. I’m trying to show her a different form of argument, but, she’s one to skip the informative stage and simply declare the moron a moron. But, had I a chance to speak before my old chum quickly changed the subject, I would have laughed and told him it was the people in Ferguson’s fault. I didn’t vote for the local government in Ferguson, the people in Ferguson did. Just like I didn’t have anything to do with Milwaukee or Baltimore or, Chicago …….. I had nothing to do with hiring the cops there. Their community did. Ferguson is a place which is about 80% Black. They have the police force they put in place there. They have the police force they maintain there. If they don’t like the way it’s done, they have the right, guaranteed by this nation, which is represented by our flag, and by our national anthem, to change it! Instead of bitching about it, inform yourself, and then come to a rational and reasonable notion as to how to make it better. As that was the whole notion of self-governance to begin with. Idiots!
And, yet, there are people who would disparage an entire nation of people for their own failures, their own lack of sacrifice, their own lack of diligence, their own lack of self-informing …… all of which our founding fathers knew and told us was necessary for this idea to prosper.